RavenVampireClub

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Paradox of Ghost Stories in the Modern World


By Charlene Teglia

What is it about a ghost story, that chill that runs up your spine and makes your hair stand on end? That thrill of the unexpected, the unexplained, the uncanny? It’s fascinating. And mysterious.

Do ghosts exist? Are houses haunted? Is there a reality beyond what we see with our eyes and experience with our everyday senses? These questions have been with me from childhood, from family ghost stories and tales told by firesides. The supernatural is a subject I don’t get tired of.

I love hearing about haunted houses, apparitions, unexplained odors and noises. Ghost lights, those spheres of light that appear and no scientific explanation has been found for. (Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, just that it hasn’t yet been discovered. Putting this phenomenon in the mysterious realm of the unexplained.) From the benign house ghost to the alarming and destructive poltergeist, the range of supernatural experiences reported is interesting in itself.

I’m not alone in this fascination. I think there’s a reason why Dean Koontz’s most popular character is Odd Thomas, the man who sees ghosts. And Stephen King’s spooky subject matter has struck a chord with an awful lot of readers. Well, why not? The 2003 Harris Poll determined that 51% of the general population believe in ghosts.

Whatever the reason for the appeal, the supernatural and the spooky makes my spine shiver and sparks my imagination and that makes it a rich subject to explore in fiction. I’ve written witches, werewolves, reincarnation, vampires, time travel, all exploring the realm of magic and mystery. I don’t believe I’ve even begun to scratch the surface.

I do think that fantasy enriches our reality, that it keeps our minds open to “what if?” and for that reason alone, it’s valuable. It’s good to question, to imagine. And it’s good to keep alive the sense of wonder we have in the world as children. Studies have shown that as we lose that childhood belief in magic, the high creativity most children have diminishes by the age of 7 and is nearly entirely lost in adults.

Oddly enough, today’s reality tells us that we need creativity more than ever. Business and industry call for creative solutions, innovations, new ways of seeing and doing things. So at a time when our world is more scientific, technical and logical than ever, our need for fantasy and
the creative thinking it fosters is at an all-time high. Ghost stories help us keep that childhood spark alive.


About the Author
Charlene Teglia is an award-winning erotic romance author for Ellora's Cave, Samhain, and St. Martin's Press, and a columnist for Romancing the Blog.
Visit her on the web at www.charleneteglia.com.


Disclaimer, cause we have to: The opinions of guest bloggers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mandy M Roth and Michelle M Pillow.

Labels: ,

21 comment(s):

Great column, Charli, and I agree totally. A sense of wonder, of "what if", is more essential today then it's ever been. I can't imagine a world where magic didn't exist, but I'm just a big kid at heart.

By Blogger N.J.Walters, at 9:44 AM  

Thanks, NJ! Here's to being forever young at heart. *ggg*

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 10:02 AM  

Hi to Charli, Thanks for being our first guest blogger here at the Raven. :) Wonderful blog to kick off the discussions!

I'm with NJ---big kid at heart. Who wants to live in a world without magic?

By Blogger Michelle Pillow, at 10:51 AM  

Hi Michelle! It's a magical world! Thanks for letting me loose on the Raven. *g*

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 11:02 AM  

I believe ghosts do exist. We have had some strange things happen in our house. My niece took a picture a couple of months ago when we looked at it, there was a picture of a skeleton hand.

By Blogger Amy S., at 11:06 AM  

Amy, when I was about 5, my oldest brother and I built a trap to catch a ghost in our basement! There were always strange sounds from down there and the cat would walk around howling. We were sure it was a ghost! My dad claims that shortly after this he heard what sounded like footsteps coming up the basement stairs, the door opening and closing, and the ghost was never heard again.

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 11:52 AM  

Anyone who works in a hospital (as I have for sixteen years) can't help but believe in a ghostly afterlife. Thanks for this great post!

By Blogger Lisa Logan, at 1:08 PM  

I love hearing ghost stories and definately want to see something paranormal, undoubtedly real, before I die. :) I just hope that's not what kills me, lol.

By Blogger Michelle Pillow, at 1:26 PM  

Lisa, my dad once worked in a funeral home. Boy, did he have stories!

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 1:33 PM  

Michelle, I'm determined to see Bigfoot before I die! Hey, there are Bigfoot sightings around the Hoh rain forest all the time, I could get lucky. *g*

I never did see what sprung our ghost trap, so I can't say there was anything supernatural there. Although the noises in the basement did go away...

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 1:34 PM  

I had no idea that many people believed in ghosts. I always thought the number was lower because of the raised eyebrow looks I get whenever the topic of the paranormal comes up. I totally believe something else is with us, around us, and continues on after us.

I agree, Charli, the world has lost so much of the its "magik".

Great post!!!! And thank you for being our first guest!

By Blogger mandymroth, at 1:34 PM  

Charlene Teglia said...

Lisa, my dad once worked in a funeral home. Boy, did he have stories!


*gulp* I bet he did. I think I'd enjoy that if for no other reason than to say I did it. LOL

By Blogger mandymroth, at 1:36 PM  

Lisa Logan said...

Anyone who works in a hospital (as I have for sixteen years) can't help but believe in a ghostly afterlife. Thanks for this great post!


I never thought of that. I bet that is a place that would see a great deal of the unexplained.

By Blogger mandymroth, at 1:37 PM  

Mandy, you're welcome! I'm delighted to kick off Manic Mondays at the Raven.

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 1:53 PM  

Mandy, he did the funeral home thing while he was a student. It got him a free apartment in the same building. He once heard sounds while there was a "guest" in the home, when none of the other building's residents were there.

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 1:54 PM  

Hospitals have got to be chock full of interesting experiences, I agree!

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 1:55 PM  

Hospitals have got to be chock full of interesting experiences, I agree!

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 1:55 PM  

There are so many inexplicable events (talking the good stuff here), so why can't it be considered magical. One of the reasons I love paranormal stories so much is that it taps into our fantasy world, and lets things you just imagined seem so real. And to escape inside a book is a totally satisfying experience.

By Blogger Cathy, at 4:06 PM  

Absolutely, Cathy!

By Blogger Charlene Teglia, at 4:19 PM  

Charlene Teglia said...

Mandy, he did the funeral home thing while he was a student. It got him a free apartment in the same building. He once heard sounds while there was a "guest" in the home, when none of the other building's residents were there.

I'd end up under the bed. I'm sure of it. LMAO!

By Blogger mandymroth, at 4:45 PM  

Cathy,

I couldn't agree more. It's one of the reasons I love paranormal stories too!

By Blogger mandymroth, at 4:46 PM  

Post a comment

<< Home